Don't let the door hit you....

Paulie Brading

on the way out. The Oregon School Boards Association fired the Executive Director, his top deputy and the organization's human resources director. The OSBA board vote was unanimous. I read the email from OSBA over the weekend. While I don't enjoy having anyone fired (unlike Mitt Romney) I believe the OSBA board really stepped up for all school board members across the state with their vote.

Most school board members attend regional meetings every year and a couple of statewide meetings. The repetitive workshops become stale after a couple of years leaving board members wondering why they attend at all. We are talked at and rarely asked for our thoughts. In particular, the lobbyists for OSBA come with hardened positions with little input from the school board members from across the state. I found the lobbyists had less than credible intelligence regarding the positions of our elected legislators. Their "out of touch" positions did not take into account the direction of our state's educational initiatives or seek input from board members across the state. Keeping the status quo has been firmly in place for far too long for this organization.

For me, when Bobbie Regan of the Portland School Board and president-elect of OSBA's board resigned citing OSBA's lack of advocacy for Oregon's public schools, it confirmed the serious doubts I've held about OSBA for a number of years. The Portland and Salem school districts left the OSBA primarily for the OSBA's lack of foresight and for intentionally circumventing member's input. Rump groups of school board members met off and on discussing educational issues.

Most school districts rely upon the OSBA legal staff for dicey situations (there are lots of them) and bargaining advice with our respective employee groups. Their publications, webinars, and legal assistance are informative and valuable.

I sincerely wish the new Executive Director well. My hope is OSBA will become much more useful to local school boards and will especially ask for local school board's perspective on issues. I would like the organization to remain relevent and useful. Reaching out to other educational advocacy groups would be a good first step. The OSBA has too much incoherance in an already incoherent public education structure. Thank goodness our govennor is working on that.

I congratulate the OSBA board for their overdue decision.

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    Paulie, what were the lobbyists hardened positions? Were they just out-of-date with today's realities or were they ideologically driven? For someone that isn't close to this it seemed a rather radical action for a trade organization.

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